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Community-Building Strategies in Smaller Cities: Longview and Tyler, Texas

an article by Carole J. Hamner

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Community-Building Strategies in Smaller Cities: Longview and Tyler, Texas is an article authored by Carole J. Hamner. She advocates that we actualize the wide-ranging potentials of neighborhoods; community renewal entails neighborhood renewal. A number of lessons emerge from a closer look at initiatives developing the wide-ranging capacities of neighborhoods:

• Investing in the social infrastructure of a community, by building relationships between individuals and between organizations, lays the foundation for neighborhood renewal.
• By developing political skills and learning how to deliberate, to negotiate, and to compromise, citizens can have a voice in the larger community.
• Issues demanding immediate attention, such as affordable housing and crime prevention, create the opportunity for people to mobilize themselves to effect systemic change in the institutions of the community.
• Communities have both institutional assets, like churches and businesses, and intangible assets, like culture and family, that can be tapped to fuel the processes of civic renewal. In cities across the country partnerships are forming-between governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations, between national and local philanthropies, and between grassroots and traditional leadership. Such cooperation will be needed to address the immediate needs of individuals and respond to the systemic problems of communities.